Thursday, November 15, 2012

Brussel Sprouts Stir-Fry

This is the first time in my life I bought, cooked and ate brussel sprouts. I had heard abt this veggie often enough, so when I saw a bunch at Trader Joe's, I decided to be adventurous and give it a try. Then I looked up some recipes on the web, and settled for a combination of sorts.

Here's how I prepped this Brussel Sprouts Stir Fry:

About 20 - 24 brussel sprouts - washed and quartered
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp panch phoron - this is a mix containing 5 ingredients (mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds and kalonji seeds)
1 cloved garlic - minced
Salt, Cumin pwd, coriander pwd, red chilli pwd - all to taste
Pinch of sugar
1 tsp lemon juice

Heat the oil in a wok, then add the panch phoron. When they sizzle, add the garlic and fry for a min. Add the brussel sprouts. Cover and cook on medium heat for 10 mins., stirring in between. Add the salt, sugar and spices. Cover and cook another 5 to 10 mins, till  the veggie softens. Take off heat and squeeze the lemon juice.

The verdict was overall good - hubby loved it, daughter too; I found it ok, good for a change but wasn't totally in love with it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tostada Pizza

I found this recipe on You Tube and have slightly adapted it. This is a great way to get kids and adults to eat their veggies.

For the base, I have used whole wheat pita bread. Any other flatbread or pizza base will also work.

For the "sauce" - I sauteed some finely chopped onions in little oil, followed by finely chopped green, red, orange and yellow bell peppers. Cooked these till slightly softened, but still crunchy. Then added some chopped garlic and sauteed another 2 mins. Added salsa and canned black beans (drained & rinsed) and some spices - cumin pwd, paprika, onion pwd and garlic pwd. Simmer till slightly thickened and mash with a potato masher. Mashing is optional, you can leave it as chunky as you prefer.

Other toppings I used - shredded Mexican cheese blend, shredded lettuce, crushed corn chips, red chilli flakes

To proceed - spread the sauce on the base and top with cheese. Bake at 400F for 5 to 10 mins till cheese melts and base turns golden brown. Once you get it out of the oven, put the other toppings - lettuce, pepper flakes, corn chips etc.

Cut into wedges and serve.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Healthy Halloween Snacks

Halloween is long gone, I did not get to post these snacks I had made that day...but better late than never. Saw these on the internet, they were so cute and easy. I simply had to make them, though I knew the kids (including my daughter) would go for the candies rather than these "healthy" snacks. But it gave me some satisfaction that they had some healthy stuff inside them before going treat-or-treating and stuffing themselves with the candies.

Carrot Witch Fingers with Sliced Almond Nails stuck on with a dab of cream cheese

Banana and drizzled white chocolate ghosts with raisins for eyes and mouth

Cheese stick Witch fingers with green bell pepper nails

Monday, November 12, 2012

Dahi Bhaath

This is my take on a much-loved recipe. Made this yesterday to have before N's Bharatnatyam performance. She was super excited and I was super nervous as it was my first time with all the traditional hair styling, make-up, jewelry and costume. This is a calming, soothing recipe. Before I get on to that, however, here is a picture of N with her teacher (and her teacher's daughter).

Here's how I made the Dahi Bhaath:

1 cup cooked rice
1 cup yogurt
Tempering - 2 tsp ghee, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 1/4 tsp cumin seeds, 1/2 tsp udad dal, 1 green chilli - chopped, 1 dry red chilli - broken, 1/2 tsp grated ginger, few curry leaves
Salt & Sugar to taste
handful of grated carrots, finely chopped cucumber, chopped cilantro

Make the tempering and add to rice. Mix in the yogurt, salt, sugar, grated carrots, cucumbers and cilantro.

Serve with potato chips or papad, pickles etc.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Alu - Methi Subji

This recipe is courtesy of my good friend Sowmya, an excellent home cook and an extremely hospitable person. It can be made with just kasuri methi or fresh methi, I had a bunch of fresh methi on hand, so I used that. Here's how I made it:

1 bag of baby potatoes (contains abt. 20 - 25)
1 bunch fresh methi - only leaves to be used
3 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 tsp turmeric pwd
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
2 tsp coriander pwd
2 tsp cumin pwd
1 to 2 tsp red chilli pwd
1 tbsp kasoori methi - crushed (increase if not using fresh methi leaves)
Salt and sugar to taste

Boil the potatoes in pressure cooker for 1 or 2 whistles, they should be cooked but remain firm. When cool, peel and keep aside. If potatoes are not baby-sized, you can chop them too.

Heat the oil in a large wok, add the mustard and cumin seeds. When they stop spluttering add the chopped onions and fry till softened. Add the ginger and garlic pastes and fry another few mins. Then add the methi leaves, cover and cook on medium low heat for 10 mins. You can use a few tbsp water to avoid burning. Then add the kasoori methi, turmeric ,coriander pwd, cumin pwd and red chilli powder. After 5 mins add the boiled and peeled baby potatoes and salt and sugar to taste. Cover and cook on medium heat for 10 mins, stirring in between to make sure all potatoes are well coated with the methi-onion-spice mix. Add few drops of oil as they are cooking and let some of the potatoes get slightly golden-brown to give a nice crunch.

Serve warm with rotis or rice.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Tortilla Lasagna

This is a kind of fusion recipe that I've adapted from one I came across on Youtube. Makes for an easy and filling meal.

Here's how I made this Tortilla Lasagna:

First for the sauce - Fry 1/2 cup chopped onions in 2 tsp oil till they soften. Add 1 cup of chopped mushrooms and fry on medium high heat till they brown. Add 1 clove of chopped garlic and fry for a min. Add 1 cup frozen or fresh chopped spinach, I've used frozen in the above picture. Fry for 5 mins. Add upto 2 cups of salsa or diced tomatoes or a combination thereof. I've used 1 cup salsa and 1 cup canned diced tomatoes. Add also 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed well. Simmer this sauce for 5 mins. Add additional spices if desired - I like to add a little of onion pwd, garlic pwd and a good amt of cumin pwd and paprika.

To assemble the tortilla lasagna - Lightly grease a round cake pan. Arrange 2 tortillas in the bottom. Spread 1/3 of the sauce, top with some shredded Mexican cheese blend, one tortilla, 1/3 sauce, cheese, another tortilla, remaining sauce, more cheese. Lastly top with 2 more tortillas and some cheese. Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 30 mins until top in slightly browned.

Let cool for 5 mins. Top with finely chopped cilantro and/or green onions, cut into wedges and serve.

This tastes good the next day for lunch box also.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Strawberry Sheera and Blueberry Sheera

Happy Dassra everyone. I made these today to celebrate the festival. This is the first time I tried both. A friend had recently mentioned having eaten strawberry sheera. So as I was racking my brains deciding what sweet to make for today, this suddenly came back. After doing some research online, I decided to try both kinds since I had a box of both berries.

Here's how I made the Strawberry Sheera:

3/4 cup medium rava/semolina/sooji
1/2 cup ghee/clarified butter
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup strawberry puree
2 tsp sweetened condensed milk
1/4 tsp cardamon pwd
Few strawberries and nuts to garnish

First, melt the ghee in a large wok. Add the rava and fry on medium low heat for abt 15 mins till fragrant.

In the meanwhile warm the milk up in the microwave. Add to the roasted rava. Puree about 12 medium sized strawberries. If you wish you can strain the puree, but I did not do this and the end product was still smooth, with excellent flavor of the strawberry puree.

Add the strawberry puree when the milk has been absorbed in the rava.

Add the sugar, mix well. My strawberries were not very sweet, hence I added sugar equal to quantity of rava. Rava will loosen at this point. Keeping cooking on medium low heat, it will thicken up again. Add the condensed milk and cardamon pwd. Mix again. Cook, stirring occasionally till the ghee starts leaving the sides of the pan. I wanted to make this sheera into wadis or barfi like pieces, so I cooked additional 10 mins.

Then spread the mix onto a greased thali.

Mark the desired shapes on the spread sheera...

....and garnish with fresh strawberries. Let cool completely, keep in the fridge if weather is warm. When cool/chilled, cut completely and remove each individual piece.

I followed the same procedure for the blueberry sheera, but I did strain the blueberry puree. Also, I did not shape these into wadis/burfis.

Here, my strawberry and blueberry sheera is ready to be distributed to friends.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Brown rice, quinoa, moong pulav

I made this pulav for a potluck at my yoga teacher's place. It was well appreciated, hence thought of posting.

I cooked the brown rice and quinoa together in the pressure cooker for 2 whistles. I sprouted the moong beans for abt 2 days. To make the pulav, I heated little olive oil in a wok, added cumin seeds and fried them for a minute. Then added some chopped onions and fried them for 5 mins. Next went in some chopped tomatoes which I cooked down a bit for abt 5 mins. I added frozen mix vegetables and again cooked it all for 5 mins. Then I added the sprouted moong, grated ginger, garlic paste, cumin pwd, coriander pwd, pav bhaji masala, little garam masala pwd and kitchen king masala pwd. Gave it all a good stir and cooked it covered till the veggies were cooked. Then mixed in the cooked and cooled brown rice and quinoa, salt and sugar. Gently folded it in with the veggies and steamed for a few mins on low heat. That's it. Garnished with some chopped cilantro.

The moong beans give it a good little crunch, in addition to being super healthy.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Dates and Almond Kheer

Made this for Shri Krishna Janmashthami last week. This is a very simple and tasty dessert. The sweetness of the dates makes it unnecessary to add sugar, making it a good alternative for those watching their sugar intake. As I was making it as a "prasad", I did add a little bit of sugar, but it tastes great without any at all too.

Here's how I make it:

12 pitted dates - chop by hand or in a food processor
12 almonds
1 cup milk
1/4 tsp crushed cardamon pwd
1/2 tsp sugar (optional)

Soak the chopped dates and almonds in 1/2 cup milk for 2 -3 hours. Then grind together in a mixer to a smooth consistency. Add the remaining milk and gently heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Take off heat and add the cardamon pwd.

Serve hot by itself or with poories.

 I like to have this kheer (pudding) fairly hot, but if you choose you can make it in the consistency of a milk shake and drink it cold too.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Shrikhand - Puri

I made this for a cooking contest at Anandmela, a local cultural event. The theme was to cook 2 traditional dishes from your region of India. So I made this Shrikhand Puri combo which is very popular especially during Diwali, Gudi Padwa, weddings etc. celebrations in Maharashtra.

I have already posted Amrakhand recipe earlier. This shrikhand is similar, but without the mango, with just cardamon and saffron to flavor it. I used one 32oz container of Greek yogurt, hung the yogurt up in the fridge in a cheesecloth overnight to let the whey drip. The next morning, I wrapped the thickened yogurt along with the cheesecloth in layers of kitchen towels and newspapers, and placed a heavy can over it, to further drain off all liquid. After abt 2-3 hrs, I added 1 cup sugar, 1 tsp cardamon pwd and 1 tsp saffron dissolved in 1/4 cup warm milk, to the thickened yogurt (called "chakka" in Marathi). I mixed it all well and while serving topped it off with charoli (I think its a kind of nut).

One trick to keep puris puffy (even the judges asked me abt it) is to add a pinch of sugar to the dough while kneading it. This keeps the puris puffed for a long time. I made my puris 3 hrs before the cooking contest since my daughter had a dance performance there, but they remained puffed up until eaten.

We had to make 2 traditional dishes for the contest, so the other item I made was Kothimbir wadi. This time I added peanuts instead of cashew nuts, and omitted the ginger and garlic pastes, but other ingredients and procedure is same as posted earlier.I shallow fried them this time.

To round off the traditional theme, I wore my nauvari sari (it is pre-stitched) which I bought from Sadi Ghar near Dadar Stn on my last visit.

I guess the judges liked something about my dishes, since I won a prize!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Paneer Parathas

Paneer Parathas are made by stuffing regular roti dough with a tangy paneer filling. They are good for lunch boxes or picnic lunches.

Here's how I make them:

For the dough - 1 cup wheat flour, pinch of salt, abt 1/3 to 1/2 cup warm water. Mix together to form a soft pliable dough. Coat with a drop of oil and keep covered with a damp cloth for atleast 1/2 hr.

For the paneer stuffing - Grate paneer to get abt 1 cup. I like to stuff my parathas to the brim, you can adjust per your liking. I use store-bought paneer, so my stuffing is quite dry and crumbly. Add 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp sugar, 1/4 tsp amchur pwd, 1/4 tsp chaat masala, 1 tbsp crushed kasuri methi, 1/2 tsp red chile pwd, 1 tsp coriander-cumin pwd. Adjust seasonings per taste. Mix all well and divide into 4 parts.

To proceed - Divide dough into 4 parts. Form each into a round hollow bowl and stuff with the seasoned paneer.

Close the bowls by bringing the dough edges together. Use flour to dust and roll into a circle. Heat on a tawa using a few drops of oil until brown spots form on both sides.

This will make 4 big paneer parathas. Serve with raita, pickles etc. Today we had this with palak raita and carrot pickle.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Bread Upma

Bread Upma is a breakfast dish, quick to make and good way to use up old bread/bagels etc.

Here's how I make it:

Roughly chop the bread pieces. Sprinkle with buttermilk that has been seasoned with salt, red chile pwd and turmeric. For about 5 bread slices, I use 1/2 cup buttermilk. Mix gently. The idea is to slightly moisten the bread pieces and spice them, so do not add too much that the bread is soaking in the buttermilk.

Heat oil in a wide pan and make the tempering by first dropping some mustard seeds. When they stop spluttering add cumin seeds, asafotida, chopped curry leaves, chopped green chiles to taste, broken dry red chiles to taste. Saute a couple of mins. Add chopped onions and fry till they turn light golden brown. Add chopped tomatoes and other veggies as desired. In the above picture, I have only added frozen peas, but potatoes, bell peppers, carrots are also good options. Cook till tomatoes and veggies soften. Add the bread pieces, salt and sugar per taste. Stir gently to coat the bread with the onion/tomato/veggies. Cook uncovered on medium high heat for 5 to 10 mins, gently stirring once in a while.

Serve hot garnished with chopped cilantro. Goes well with a cup of chai.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Mexican Rice

I use store-bought salsa and enchilada sauce for this hence I call it Mexican rice. In the above picture, I have used cooked brown rice and quinoa, you can substitute with cooked white rice. This is a good way to use up leftover rice, salsa and enchilada sauce.

Here's how I make it:

Heat veg. oil in a pan. Fry some chopped onions and green bell peppers in it. Add the salsa and enchilada sauce. Latter can be omitted, in which case increase the amount of salsa used. For 2 cups cooked rice, I use abt 1 cup salsa depending on how chunky or smooth it is and the heat level. Add seasoning to taste - salt, sugar, cumin pwd and paprika. Stir well. Add the cooked rice (see note). Add drained canned black beans and upto 1 tbsp soy sauce. Stir gently to coat rice well. Cover and heat on medium low heat for 5 mins. Adjust seasonings to taste if needed. Garnish with finely chopped cilantro, red bell pepper and even some shredded Mexican cheese blend if desired.

Note - You can use uncooked rice, in which case probably better to go with white rice as it cooks faster. Add water or veg. broth and cook till almost done before proceeding to add the canned beans and soy sauce.

This Mexican rice goes well by itself as a one-pot meal or served along with tortilla soup/quesadilla, enchiladas etc.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Orange juice punch

I love freshly squeezed orange juice and frankly don't think there is any need to "enhance" it with additions. But if you want to serve it to guests and/or make it a little special, this Orange Juice Punch is a good way to go.

Here's how I make it:

6 oranges (mosambi in Marathi) - juiced to get abt 3 cups juice
1 cup chilled sparkling cider
1 tsp sugar, 1/4 tsp ginger pwd (soonth), 1 small lemon wedge

Rub the rims of your serving glasses with the lemon wedge. Dip in the sugar-ginger pwd mix. Fill each cup 3/4th way with the freshly squeezed orange juice. Top off with the chilled sparkling cider. Serve immediately.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Cake Pops

We made these cake pops for my daughter's 9th b'day. I used a boxed yellow cake mix to bake the cake, following instructions on the box, but replacing the eggs with 1 cup yogurt. When the cake was completely cooled, I crumbled it up, mixed in abt 1/2 cup frosting to get a consistency that would hold its shape when rolled into balls. Using a tbsp measure, we made abt 20 round balls. Next we melted some candy melts, dipped lollipop sticks abt an inch into the melted chocolate and stuck these sticks in the cake balls. We froze these for 15 mins to harden them up so the sticks stayed put. Then came the fun part. My daughter, her friend and I had a great time dipping these pops into melted milk, blue and pink chocolate. I used Wilton candy melts and just microwaved them in 15 sec. bursts for abt a min and a half, stirring in between. We stuck the dipped pops in styrofoam and refrigerated them for 15 mins, then drizzled melted white chocolate over them using a plastic bottle with a small nozzle.

We shared these with N's friends at the dance class and they all loved it.

This is a great project to do with kids. We did loose a few pops which fell apart mostly due to excess force and/or swirling in the melted chocolate. This was our first attempt at cake pops, so we stuck to basic simple decorating, but really your imagination can run wild once you get the hang of this.

If you plan to make these for adults, my suggestion is to use semi sweet candy melts. For me atleast, the sweet cake, covered with the sweet chocolate, was a bit too much. But then again...none of the kids complained abt the sugar overload.

Updated August 14, 2012:

We made Soccer Ball Cake Pops over the weekend for a friend's kid who is very much into the game.

For this, learning from my previous experience, I used half frosting and half cream cheese to bind the crumbled cake and shape into balls. This made the end product just right in sweetness. I melted Nestle's white chocolate chips per package directions and dipped the cake balls in it. I really loved the taste of this brand. For the pentagonal design on the soccer balls, I used fruit roll-ups and stuck them on with a dab of melted chocolate. My daughter & I made a little box, with green tissue paper for the soccer field grass, and she drew the soccer nets. Sure made a tasty and unique personalized gift.

Updated Sept. 16, 2012:

Last Friday my daughter has a back-to-school event and her 4th grade class had a bake sale. For this, I made owl cake pops as the owl is her school mascot.

I used store bought butter pound cake, plus some cake I had in the freezer and made abt 40, of which I took 30 to the event. Following my earlier experience, I used a combination of cream cheese and frosting to bind the cake into balls. This makes the end product not overwhelmingly sweet. After refrigeration for 1/2 hr, I stuck the sticks in them with melted chocolate, refrigerated again for a good one hr. Then stuck semi-sweet morsels for the ears, put back in the fridge for an hr. Then dipped the pops in melted light cocoa chips and refrigerated again. I stuck bracelet candy for the eyes, rainbow sprinkles for the nose and star shaped sprinkles for the feet, all using little melted chocolate. I used a toothpick/skewer to help stick these pieces.

I was happy that all my pops sold out at the event!

Monday, July 9, 2012

No cook coconut dessert (ladoos)

This recipe is from Super Veggie Delight's You Tube channel. I had come across this while browsing and it came in very handy recently. We were cruising the first week of July and on Guru Purnima Day (July 3), I wanted to make something special and traditional. I carried all the necessary ingredients from home in a medium bowl and made them right in our cabin on the cruise ship!

Here's how I made them:

3 cups dry shredded coconut
7 to 8 oz sweetened condensed milk
pinch of cardamon pwd and saffron
food color (optional)
almonds to garnish
1 tsp ghee

Mix the coconut and condensed milk in a bowl till well blended. Add the cardamon pwd and saffron. If using food color, add to part of the mix as needed. Divide into abt 20 parts. Grease palms with ghee and shape into round ladoos. Press an almond on to each ladoos.

Thats it! Super easy and delicious dessert ready in a jiffy.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Gajar vadi (Carrot burfi)

These are very similar to Gajar Halwa. I have always preferred my Gajar Halwa on the thick rather than slurpy side, so converting it into Gajar vadi is just one step further.

Here's how I made these Gajar vadis:

2 cups peeled and shredded carrots
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp ghee
1/4 cup milk pwd
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 tsp cardamon pwd
1/4 tsp saffron (mixed in a few drops of warm milk)
handful of chopped nuts (almonds, cashews, pistachios) for mixing in and for garnishing

Heat the ghee in a big pan and fry the shredded carrots in it on medium heat for few mins till they turn a darker shade of orange and aromatic. Add the ricotta and milk pwd. Fry well till the ricotta dries up. Add the sugar, cardamon pwd, saffron and half of the chopped nuts. Mix well and keep frying till the carrot mix starts forming a big ball and the ghee can be seem oozing from the sides. This should take abt 10 to 15 mins. Take off heat and spread in a tray that has been greased with some ghee. Pat down well to smoothen the top. Garnish with the remaining chopped nuts. Refrigerate till cooled. Then cut into desired shapes and serve.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Brown Rice, Masur, Quinoa Biryani

For the past few years, whenever I make plain rice, I use a mix of brown rice plus quinoa and just pressure cook them together for 3 whistles. We all love its mild nutty taste, apart from its high nutrition value. It goes well with any Indian dal or subji. I almost never use plain white rice, except when making pulavs/khichdis and such. So this time when I thought of making my Lentil and Vegetable Biryani I decided to use brown rice and quinoa instead of white rice.

Here's how I made it:

Soak 1/2 cup brown lentils (masur) for 2 hrs. Wash and soak 1/2 cup brown rice and 1/2 cup quinoa together for 15 mins.

Heat oil in a pressure pan. Add  1 tsp cumin seeds and handful of chopped onions. Saute till onions turn translucent. Add 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste and saute a few mins. Add 1 cup mixed frozen veggies, 1 chopped tomato and dry spice pwds per taste - cumin, cilantro, red chile, garam masala. Saute another few mins. Add the lentils, brown rice and quinoa. Add 3 cups water. You can use the water in which the lentils, rice and quinoa were soaked, plus additional to make 3 cups. Add salt and sugar. Bring to a quick boil, put on the lid and pressure cook for 3 to 4 whistles.

Open the lid when the pressure reduces, fluff gently and serve hot with raita.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Picnic/Party Food - Tortilla Roll-Ups

Today was my daughter's end of school year class picnic and I made two kinds of Tortilla Roll-ups. They were a big hit with all the adults and kids.

Tortilla Roll-Ups with Cream Cheese Filling

Tortilla Roll-Ups with Hummus Filling

Here's how I made them:

6 tortillas - 2 plain flour, 2 spinach, 2 tomato (big burrito size)
Cream cheese filling -
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup grated carrot
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup chopped fire roasted red bell peppers
2 handfuls of canned black beans (drained, rinsed and patted dry)
Spices - salt, pepper, paprika, cumin pwd, onion pwd and garlic pwd - all to taste
Hummus filling -
1/2 cup store bought regular hummus
handful of grated carrots and green onions
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes - chopped
1/4 cup baby spinach - roughly chopped
handful of pine nuts
spices - salt, pepper and paprika

Make the fillings by mixing all the ingredients till well incorporated. Be sure to thaw the cream cheese on the counter top for atleast 3 hrs in order to soften it before making the filling. 

Heat each totrilla for abt 15 secs in the microwave or on a pan on the stove top to slightly soften them and make it easier to spread the fillings and roll them. Spread about 1/4 cup filling evenly on each tortilla.

Roll up into a tight roll. I like to fold in the sides as I roll. When you come to the end, lightly press to seal. Wrap the rolled up tortillas tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for a few hours atleast.

Just before packing for your picnic or serving at your party, unwrap and cut each tortilla into 7 to 8 pieces.

These stay good at room temperature for a couple of hours. Beyond that, or if the weather is very hot, better to pack them in the icebox.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Soy Nuggets Pulav

This is adapted from a recipe given by a dear friend.

Here's how I make it:

1 cup basmati rice - rinsed under cold water and drained
1/4 to 1/2 cup soy nuggets
1/4 cup chopped onions
1/4 cup chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup frozen peas and carrots mix
2 tsp oil
2 tsp yogurt
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
Dry Spices - 1 tsp coriander pwd, 1 tsp cumin pwd, 1/4 tsp red chile pwd, 1/4 tsp garam masala pwd, 1 tbsp kasuri methi crushed between palms, few mint leaves finely chopped
salt to taste, pinch of sugar

Soak the soy nuggets in hot lightly salted water for 15 mins until softened.

Heat oil in a wok. Fry the onions till translucent. Add the tomatoes and ginger garlic paste. As this is frying, mix the dry spices in the yogurt. Add a few tsp water to mix well. Add to the wok. Drain the soy nuggets and squeeze out the excess water with your palms. Do not throw away this water, use it later to cook the pulav. Add the soy nuggets to the wok. I like to roughly chop the softened nuggets to bite size pieces as some of them can be quite a mouthful. Fry the soy nuggets in the masala for 5 mins. Add the rice, frozen peas and carrots, salt and sugar. Add the water used to soak the nuggets and additional water to make abt 2 cups. Bring to a quick boil on high heat. Then reduce heat to medium, cover and cook, stirring occasionally until rice is 3/4th cooked. At this point, cover with a tight fitting lid and cook on low heat, dum-style till fully cooked.

Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with a raita.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Mung daal khichdi

This is a simple rice dish, a kind of comfort food, easy on the tummy yet nutritious and tasty.

Here's how I make it:

1/2 cup short grain white rice (I like to use Sona Masuri)
1/2 cup mung daal
3 cups water
Tempering - 2 tsp oil, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, pinch of asafoetida, 1/2 tsp turmeric pwd, few curry leaves torn roughly
Salt to taste
1 tsp cumin pwd
1 tsp coriander pwd
1 tsp goda masala
1 tsp kacchha masala (see note)
1/2 tsp red chile pwd or to taste
1 tbsp jaggery

I usually make khichdi in my pressure pan, but it can be made in a regular pot that has a fitting cover too. First wash the rice and mung daal together in 2-3 changes of water. Drain and let sit for 15 mins. Make the tempering by heating the oil and dropping the mustard seeds. When they stop spluttering, add the rest of the tempering ingredients one by one. Fry for a minute. Add the rice and daal mix. Saute for 2-3 mins. Add 3 cups of water. Khichdi is usually a bit mushier than say pulav or masale bhaath, but you can adjust quantity of water per your liking. Add all the masalas, salt and jaggery and stir. Increase heat to high to bring it to a quick boil. At this point, if using a pressure pan, close the lid and cook for 2 to 3 whistles. If making the khichdi in a pot, cover it, reduce heat to medium and cook abt 20 mins till well cooked.

Serve hot garnished with fresh shredded coconut, chopped cilantro and a dollop of ghee.

Note - Kacchha masala is a raw (unroasted) spice mix of coriander seeds, cumin seeds, shahjeera seeds, cloves and cinnamon. These spices are sun dried and then powdered together. I got this powdered spice mix from my MIL. In sun-starved Seattle, I don't think I can ever attempt to make this masala. Since all the spices used in this masala are also used in goda masala, you can use 2 tsp of goda masala in the absence of kacchha masala.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Vaatli Daal

This is a typical Maharashtrian snack item. But I only recently started liking it, since I ate it at hubby's maami's place last December. Maybe it was the way she made it (which I have followed) or my more mature taste buds. The daal here is chana daal/bengal gram and 'vaatli' means ground up.

Here's how I make it:

1 cup chana daal
Tempering - 2 tsp oil, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, pinch of asafoetida, 1/4 tsp turmeric pwd,   1 chopped green chile, 1 broken dry red chile, few chopped up curry leaves
1 tsp salt or to taste, 1 tsp sugar or to taste
1/2 tsp red chile pwd or to taste (dish should be on spicier side)
1/2 tsp cumin pwd
1/2 tsp coriander pwd
1/4 cup milk
Garnish - fresh coconut, cilantro, lemon

Soak the chana daal in water for atleast 4 hours. Drain and grind coarsely with the red chile, cumin and coriander pwds. I use my Magic Bullet blender for this.

Make the tempering by heating the oil, adding the mustard seeds and when they stop spluttering add the rest of the tempering ingredients. Add the ground up chana daal mix, salt and sugar. Cover and cook on medium heat for 10 mins, mixing occasionally. Add the milk. According to maami, this makes the vaatli daal fluffy. Cover and cook for another 10 mins.

Serve hot garnished with fresh coconut, chopped cilantro and a wedge of lemon.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Stuffed Mini Bell Peppers

12 mini bell peppers - chop off the stem part and cut each vertically into 2, then core

For the stuffing - 1/2 cup gram flour, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp amchoor pwd, 1/4 tsp turmeric pwd, 1/2 tsp red chile pwd, 1 tsp cumin pwd, 1 tsp coriander pwd, 1/2 tsp fennel pwd, 1/2 cup water

For the tempering - 4 tsp oil, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds, pinch of asafoetida

Mix the stuffing ingredients (except water) and roast in a pan on medium-low heat for 10 mins till aromatic. Add the water and mix well to form a thickish paste. Cool enough to handle. Drop abt 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of this paste in each half of the mini bell peppers and spread a little.

In a large pan, make the tempering by heating the oil and dropping the mustard seeds. When they stop spluttering, add the cumin seeds and asafoetida. Roast for a minute. Now add the stuffed mini bell peppers one by one with the open sides facing up. Cover the pan and cook on medium low for 10 mins. Give the pan a good shake. By this time the gram flour stuffing will no longer be runny, so it is okay if a few peppers turn face down. Infact this is good as it will sear the gram flour stuffing also a bit and ensure it does not taste raw. Continue to cover and cook, shaking the pan in between for another 10 minutes or so till all the peppers soften and are a little browned on both sides.

Serve hot as a starter or a side dish.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Savory White Bean Dip

I have adapted this recipe from a cookbook called Magic Beans by Patti Bazel Geil.

Here's how I made it:

1 15oz. can of white beans (cannellini beans)
1 tbsp yogurt
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp onion pwd
1 tsp garlic pwd
1/2 tsp paprika pwd
1/4 tsp black pepper pwd
1/2 tsp red chile pwd
1/4 tsp coriander pwd
1/2 tsp cumin pwd
1/2 tsp salt or per taste
pinch of sugar

Blend all the ingredients together. I used my Magic Bullet blender, food processor should also work or you can even mash it all together with a fork. I left a few small chunks of beans. Garnish with chopped cilantro and the greens of spring onions. 

Serve immediately with chips/crackers, or cover and refrigerate. I like to eat it at room temperature so when I refrigerate it, I leave it out for a couple of hours before eating. The chips in the pictures are Trader Joe's Veggie and Flax Seed chips.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Carrot raita (Gajarache Bharit)

This is an easy side dish for poli-bhaji.

Here's how I make it:

1 cup roughly chopped carrots (I use the baby cut carrots that come in a bag, they are already peeled)
1 cup yogurt
Salt & sugar to taste
Tempering - 1 tsp ghee, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, 1 dry red chile (broken), 1 green chile, pinch asafoetida
2 tbsp roughly chopped dry roasted unsalted peanuts
Chopped cilantro

Pressure cook the carrots for 2 to 3 whistles. When they come to room temperature, mash with a fork leaving some chunky pieces. Make the tempering by heating the ghee and adding the other tempering ingredients. Fry for a few mins, take off heat and pour over the mashed carrots. Add the peanuts, yogurt, salt, sugar and cilantro. Mix well.

Zucchini cakes (eggless)

I had been wanting to try zucchini cakes for a long time, but all the recipes I found used egg. I finally decided to try these without eggs, using chickpea/gram flour instead. They turned out pretty good.

Here's how I made them:

1 cup grated zucchini
1 heaped tbsp gramflour/chickpea flour
1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used panko)
Seasonings - salt, black pepper pwd, cajun seasoning blend (or any other seasoning of your choice)
Chopped cilantro
Oil to shallow fry

Squeeze the grated zucchini by hand to drain off water it releases. Do not throw away the water, use in dals/gravies/rotis. Add all the other ingredients to the zucchini. Mix by hand till well blended. Form into 8 patties immediately and shallow fry until golden brown on both sides.

Serve hot with ketchup.

Related Posts with Thumbnails